This tour the 30 Anniversary, changed its setlist 3 times in its earliest stage, not a lot but any change, even one song, changes everything. 'Setlist time' is about as important as it gets. A set can stand or fall on its construction. By Manchester it had settled down, and carried on pretty much the same alongside the addition of 'World Service' into the encores.
It had became apparent to me and the band that these dates were not the usual SOD sets/gigs but a 'show'.
In the larger venues it really worked well. It still worked in the smaller ones albeit with less room to manoeuvre. In reality it was a concert hall set.
The 30 year tour was beset with a few exceptional situations. Some will remain unsaid as is safest policy, leaving out the very mad and the antics of....
Nottingham was 'Rescue Rooms'...... Notts has always been a personal favourite of mine. I have a couple of friends there that I go back with decades. Theres always something of an atmosphere here, kind of wild as if anything could happen.....sometimes it does........On a previous excursion here I had the Police leave me for dead in my hotel room, unconscious and fully clothed on a bed, as was not considered worth carrying to a Police Station after a nights gambling and severe drinking....its just one of them towns....just don't ask what happened, its even more bizarre than it sounds..... The venue was really full and the audience I think got the show/setlist. No complaints from the stage or the floor. Notts knows how to have fun....On to...
Bedford 'Esquires' was a packed house, and a surprise happened while we were on stage....a guy stripped off and was attempting to do a wiggle (I personally have no idea!) dance right next to Adrian while he played solos.....the guy was beaming and very proud of himself as he danced away his lost youth and sanity. He was fairly quickly escorted off stage back to 'normality'. I was told he attempted to again take his clothes off at the bar. This proved to be a bridge too far and was shown that thing with handles on, pronto.
You would think a town such as Darwen would be fairly peaceful and sedate wouldn't you? Do not trust first impressions.....beneath its surface lies a certain restlessness that breaks open and there can be a kick off. The 'Darwen Library Theatre' itself is a great venue...its seated to the tune of over some 200 people plus. It always works out at the end that people get up and dance. Which for a band is great as is an immediate response. There was a certain element in the audience that took it one step further and decided to spit at Craig our bass player. This caused some little consternation..... to be honest people spitting at people is just plain stupid and disgusting by anyones measure. In future, patrons please refrain from spitting and strenuous physical activities..... If at all possible. Thankyou. Lets now go to 'Lovely Wolverhampton...' As the song goes..... The venue being 'The Slade Rooms'.....Slade for them as can remember were a brilliant rockin band. I saw them but once but was incredibly impressed. Jimmy Lee the bass player stood atop a P.A. Stack playing his fiddle while Slade rocked on below him. Their early album 'Play It Loud' I rank as one of my all time favourites. The songwriting is genius. Backstage there was plenty of photos round the walls of them in their hayday. Platform boots, skinhead haircuts and old mens clothes. Somehow they looked menacing in some of them, not entirely cuddly but, to me that was their charm somehow......our show that night was a good one and a warm reception from the good burghers of Wolvo. 'Ta very much' as Noddy sometimes said......From the heart of the Black Country we drove down to port out starboard home Cambridge, 'The Junction'. Well....not entirely.... Anyway, this venue was large with an even larger stage. Spear were by this point of the tour, flying. Our man 'Duds' stood firm and performed his stage duties admirably. Thankyou Duds! The soundman got it completely right and spun tons of delays on my voice. A great level of professionalism was demonstrated by the soundman and monitorman. Believe me, stuff like this helps and does really count in the real world. Cheers Gents. Our next port of call took in Norwich at 'The Waterfront'. The part we played was the upstairs venue and was completely packed. Have to say, the reception we got I hope mirrored the performance up on stage. A cracking night all round! Then it was back down to London to the 'Islington Academy'....a place I personally have played many times. This nights show had more people come to it than for several years. On this occasion we had an 'up for it' crowd. This gave us on stage a great gee up! A storming set! Sometimes London audiences can be simply a 'watching audience', but this night they had fun, so we had fun! Audiences really can give you the lift. Cheers London! ......Its always a scramble to get out of London if you are moving on to play another date, and this was no exception.....nevertheless I got a ride in a Land Rover down to jolly old Pompey! In fact I was there earlier than anyone else.....meandering about the great and many drinking holes that are situated along its friendly streets, abstaining of course now I'm a Warfarin junkie.....this show was at the 'Wedgewood Rooms'...again somewhere I have played many times previous......Portsmouth, I have always found friendly and this night was no exception....there were several people dressed up as skeletons in the crowd...well, it was All Hallows Eve. This was a fun sight to look out on.....there was also a lady at the front being held up by the metal barrier.....alkohol had got the better of her possibly, that or she was deep in memory being jostled by the shouting and dancing crowd....I tried vainly to get her attention and nod as if to get out of the way of being damaged by the revellers but alas, I doubt she could see aught but her metal friend holding her up.....right at the end she looked up and smiled and then swayed out towards the door.....hope she made it home ok on the jolly liquor soaked streets of Pompey.....cheers skeleton people too, you made me smile! Now all that remained was the last night of the tour in Brighton..... It was to be at the venue so named 'The Haunt'.....I had several old pals turn up and was good to see their friendly faces......I also had a very old friend, Adrian Harvey play the opener with his band 'The Stuntmen'.....The very lovely Saffron Sprackling from 'Republika' was there with pals, as was Mick Havershaw Robinson from the radio station 'Radio Reverb'..... The show was a good one, to a full house, but this was the night the great storm arrived so, especial thanks to all those brave souls who came out that last night for the Spear! Thanking you.
As a tour, the Spear 30 Years Tour really worked, and promised positive for the future of Spear.
At every occasion when I went out front and met people afterwards, I was overwhelmed with the affection/love people had for the music which Spear makes. Music is memory. Not just the classic stuff from the 80s but more recent albums, which for me is healthy, as I hope to continue to write songs and record albums.
In the tour set was one new song, 'Falling Down'. This was met favourably thruout the tour....
Everything else, predating the last album 'Omega Point', which is now 5 years old unbelievably.
To ALL those who came to these shows, I, Ade, Craig and Mike, thank you. You made it as good as it was! An exceptional tour! Thanks must go also to the backroom boys (and WAGS) who worked so hard with the logistics and goodwill all round.
BACK TO THE FUTURE!
THIS COMING WEEKEND I am really looking forward to a couple of aKoustiK outings, one in London on Friday evening supporting The March Violets and then on to Leeds! Leeds! Leeds! for full set I have specially put togther...........................
KIRK BRANDON aKoustiK
Fri 22nd LONDON o2 Academy Islington
TIX : http://tinyurl.com/pjjvyjz
Sun 24th LEEDS New Roscoe
TIX : http://tinyurl.com/neu7o6s
AND THEN WE have 5 THEATRE OF HATE SHOWS in December.
Its rare that TOH Re Union shows happen but when they do, that very special chemistry is in evidence. I look forward to them immensely......
See you out there in the future!
THEATRE OF HATE
Tue 10TH BRISTOL The Fleece
0117 929 9008
Wed 11th York Fibbers
Thur 12th STOCKTON ON TEES Georgian Theatre
Fri 13th LONDON The Roundhouse
0844 482 8008
Sat 14th BIRMINGHAM The Institute
Communication Ends. Kirk Brandon